17 Oct About Employee Checks – Reducing the Risks Your Business Faces
Your people are your most important assets. Without them, your business wouldn’t exist. But the people you employ can also represent your biggest risk.
With a focus on forensic IT, we frequently analyse data breaches, data thefts and all sorts of other nasties carried out via IT systems. You’d be surprised how often we come across cases where the right type of background check would have prevented the staff member from being given that level of responsibility, or even stopped them being handed the role in the first place.
So what are the risks presented by the employees, homeworkers, part-timers, contractors and any freelance or temporary staff you might use? And how does staff background checking reduce those risks?
What risks do the people you employ pose to the business?
When people do bad things at work it can hurt your brand, damage the trust people have in the organisation externally and internally, and land you with lots of unwanted negative attention from the press and trade publications. It can even lead to legal action, which is horribly expensive as well as highly undesirable.
It isn’t just an industrial espionage thing, although that’s one of the risks many businesses face, especially those that make unique, innovative, particularly desirable or very high value products. People can steal your data, destroy it or use it for nefarious or fraudulent purposes, both potentially catastrophic under current Data Protection law and set to become even more risky thanks to updated data protection laws coming in next May.
Someone might have lied on their CV, actually unable to carry out the IT tasks they say they can, without the right experience or expertise. That’s something that can easily leave your business in chaos, with unhappy customers leaving in droves. They might adjust your accounts to siphon money off, falsify customer accounts or collaborate with a supplier to steal money. And that’s just the tip of a truly gigantic iceberg.
The most common employee checks made in the UK
Many British employers make these basic checks before employing someone:
• Does the employee have a legal right to work in this country? If it turns out they can’t, you might be fined as much as £20,000
• You can check someone’s criminal record in some cases, for example if the person is going to work with children or vulnerable adults, operate in the healthcare sector, are a taxi driver or work with controlled drugs. If you can’t ask for a full criminal record check, you can ask the employee to do a basic check themselves and let you know the results
• You can ask for a health check before hiring someone when good health is a legal requirement, for example an eye test for a bus driver, or when the job demands it. Some insurers, for example, ask for health checks on bicycle couriers before they’ll provide accident or illness cover
• You can ask for references from previous employers
• You can check people’s qualifications to make sure they’re genuine and valid
About employee background checking
The traditional practice of getting references is a good start, but today’s IT and data-focused business landscape means it’s rarely enough. Pre- and in-employment background checking is vital when the person concerned has access to sensitive material or systems, especially for senior staff. This kind of detailed screening reveals if a person’s integrity is solid, and helps you tell whether they’re genuinely suitable for the role.
The simplest checks include examining address details and property ownership, the employee’s family situation, checks into any civil litigation and a suite of detailed online searches. The most complex also involve research into a person’s previous employment, media checks, CV analysis, checks with industry and professional bodies, and even a detailed analysis of the overall results by a qualified psychologist to dig up any character traits that might hint something isn’t quite right. As a general rule, the more senior or influential the employee, and the more access they have to vital systems and data, the deeper the checks need to go.
Our employee background checks
We’ve designed four levels of background check to cover all sorts of employees. With our help you’ll cut the likelihood of fraud and theft, and will enjoy lower employment costs thanks to better quality people and reduced staff turnover. Your brand equity will be better protected and compliance ensured. And you’ll be able to demonstrate to clients, employees, customers and industry bodies that you’ve done all your due diligence.
Best of all, our service is unusual in that we exclusively use ex-senior detectives and clinically-trained psychoanalysts to carry out checks for our customers, adding extra invaluable expertise and insight to an already rigorous process. We also have a blog post on How to Cope with Disruptive Employees.